Gartner says global smartphone sales are estimated to reach 1.5 billion units in 2016, a 7 percent growth from 2015.
According to the leading information technology research and advisory company, this is the first time global smartphone sales will exhibit single-digit growth.
While the total mobile phone market is forecast to reach 1.9 billion units in 2016, worldwide combined shipments for devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) are expected to reach 2.4 billion units in 2016, a 0.6 per cent increase from.
“The double-digit growth era for the global smartphone market has come to an end,” Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner says. “Historically, worsening economic conditions had negligible impact on smartphone sales and spend, but this is no longer the case. China and North America smartphone sales are on pace to be flat in 2016, exhibiting a 0.7 per cent and 0.4 per cent growth respectively.”
While smartphone sales will continue to grow in emerging markets, the growth will slow down. Gartner predicts that, through 2019, 150 million users will delay upgrades to smartphones in emerging Asia/Pacific, until the functionality and price combination of a low-cost smartphone becomes more desirable.
“Prices did not decline enough to drive upgrades from low-end feature phones to low-end smartphones,” Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner adds. “Vendors were not able to reduce the price of a ‘good enough to use’ smartphone lower than $50.”
Countries such as India will help generate new mobile phone user growth. Sales of smartphones in India are on pace to reach 29 percent in 2016 and will continue to exhibit double-digit growth in the next two years.